Fuel costs are always a concern for fleet managers. This is especially true if you manage a fleet of large, heavy-duty service vehicles like dump trucks and waste disposal trucks. Any time gasoline prices fluctuate, especially if they rise quickly, it can make a major bite out of your operations budget, as well as your bottom line!
In recent years, more and more fleet managers have embraced things like GPS tracking and other integrated systems to help find areas where fleet efficiency can be improved. When the collected data is properly analyzed through sophisticated software, it can reveal things like:
- Improperly managed routes
- Traffic and timing trends
- Bad driving habits
- Bad operator habits
- Excess run time
- Power take-off use
- Fuel consumption
- Unnecessary stops
- Idle time
Anyone of these factors can have a significant impact on fuel costs, as well as other issues like safety operations and operator liability. When they are all filtered and factored together for a single vehicle or an entire fleet of service trucks, the conglomeration of inefficiencies can have a major impact on your operational costs.
Improved Driver And Operator Training
Beyond the nuts and bolts of fleet efficiency and fuel costs, GPS tracking data can also be used to help with driver or operator training. In some cases, it could even be used with dash cam footage, or other videos to help retrain drivers who have demonstrated bad habits. This could help improve a variety of performance factors such as customer service, as well as limiting potential liability issues.
Tracking Power Take Off For Improved Efficiency
Many heavy duty service vehicles like dump trucks and waste disposal trucks have a power take-off system integrated into their routine operation. This could be things like:
- Low range power systems
- Hydraulic systems
- Lift systems
- Power-assisted doors
- Vacuum blowers
- Lightweight cranes
- Operation arms
- A trash compactor
Many modern-day GPS tracking systems can also be fitted with power take-off monitoring features. This essentially captures every use of the power take-off system and records it. When paired with state-of-the-art software fleet managers, and operation specialists can interpret the data to find areas where efficiency can be improved. It can also help to track a power take-off system use for improved scheduling of routine maintenance.
Improved Monitoring For Auxiliary Devices
Just like power take-off systems, there are other auxiliary features that can be tracked, collected, and recorded. This can include things like when safety lights and other electric safety equipment are being used. It can also record if sirens and other audio warning equipment is being used correctly.
Tracking this data can help with driver training and retraining, as well as things like improving operational safety, or improving customer service. The net impact could also help limit liability issues.
Active And Passive GPS Data Collection
There are different types of GPS tracking systems to consider. One of the first major factors to decide on for your fleet of vehicles is whether you want an Active/Real-Time GPS tracking system or a Passive GPS tracking system.
As the name implies an active GPS system tracks vehicle movements and operation in real time. These units are essentially hardwired into the vehicle’s electric system. Most of these systems use a GPS satellite connection, as well as cellular wireless signals to track the unit moment-by-moment.
The information is then filtered through a sophisticated software suite, which allows you to keep real-time tabs on a particular vehicle or vehicles. Afterward, the software can also help you interpret the data to find areas where route planning and operating efficiency can be improved.
If security is an issue, active GPS tracking systems can have alerts or geofences built into them. If the vehicle is activated or moved during off hours, it sends an automatic alert to your system or your security personnel.
A so-called Passive GPS tracker doesn’t provide you with any real-time data. When the vehicle is in use it collects data from various inputs and records it. You can then download that information when needed. Some fleet managers will choose to download the information daily, weekly, monthly, or perhaps even quarterly.
Spreadsheets or other types of analytics can then be used to highlight areas that need change or improvement.
How Can A GPS Tracking System Improve Customer Service For My Waste Disposal Fleet?
For some individuals, families, and businesses efficient waste disposal can be a sensitive subject. When a single pickup or multiple pickups are accidentally missed by an operator, it can severely impact customer service.
Not only do complaints consume manhours with customer service personnel, but they also tend to be inefficient for vehicles to make an unscheduled trip. In some cases, it could even cause the individual or business to cancel service.
In a situation where they may have been an incident, such as a safety violation, a GPS tracking system with power take-off or other monitoring systems may help assess liability. This information may be used in a legal claim, or to help with driver/operator retraining.
GPS Tracking Helps Schedule Routine Maintenance
A GPS tracking system can do far more than simply record routes and position. Things like run time, power take-off use, downtime, stoppages, and use of other features can help schedule routine maintenance.
Knowing actual mileage, run time, system stresses and other factors, can help your maintenance personnel take care of things before they breakdown or become a problem. This can include things like:
- Oil changes
- Brake system maintenance
- Hydraulic system maintenance
- Air filter changes
- Fuel filter replacements
- Diagnostic upgrades
- General physical maintenance that may not have been reported by the operator
GPS Tracking Systems Provide A Great Return On Investment
In general GPS tracking systems, analytic software, and special features like power take-off monitoring are very inexpensive. They give fleet managers the ability to better understand how waste disposal vehicles and other company equipment are used. The system pays for itself with improved route efficiency and fuel costs, as well as reducing liability, improving customer service, and effective scheduling of routine maintenance.